International Paddling Competition Will Return to Western North Carolina’s Nantahala Gorge
Bryson City, N.C. (December 5, 2013) – At a meeting in Lima, Peru the International Canoe Federation’s (ICF) Board of Directors officially announced Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) will host the 2015 ICF Wildwater Canoeing Junior World Championships on the Nantahala River. The decision reflects the ICF’s enthusiastic assessment of the 2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships held in the Nantahala Gorge this past September. The successful bid to host a second world championship event within three years reflects a rise in prominence for the Nantahala River, which had never held a world championship event before 2013.
In September, the Nantahala Gorge Organizing Committee impressed the ICF with advances in event organization, venue sophistication and media coverage during the 2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships, setting a new standard for the international freestyle competition.
Joe Jacobi, USA Canoe/Kayak CEO: “Coming off the successful Freestyle World Championships, we are once again honored to partner with the Nantahala Outdoor Center in hosting the 2015 ICF Wildwater Canoeing Junior World Championships. The capacity, platform, industry reputation and professional organizing team of NOC take international paddlesports event hosting to another level that not only benefits the disciple of Wildwater, but the sport as a whole. We are grateful to the leadership of NOC for their continued support of competitive paddlesports.”
The success of the 2013 Freestyle World Championships event was also due to the 2013 Wave, a permanent river enhancement made possible by a grant from North Carolina’s Golden Leaf Foundation. The 2013 Wave was the centerpiece for the freestyle competition, and will also be an important element of the upcoming Junior Wildwater World Championships.
The 2013 Wave and competition venue is the planned finish line for the 2015 Wildwater Canoeing Junior World Championships. Unlike freestyle competition, Wildwater races utilize long stretches of the river for two different down-river races. The first component, the “Classic” race is an endurance event, which takes place over a four-to-six mile stretch of the river. The second component is the spectator-friendly “Sprint” race which is usually 550 yards long, and will take the fastest paddlers approximately 70 seconds to negotiate. Both the Classic and the Sprint components will likely end at the 2013 Wave, making for an exciting finish for competitors and spectators.
Bob Lally, USA Canoe/Kayak Board Chair: “USA Canoe/Kayak is honored and excited to host the 2015 Wildwater Junior World championships in the USA. One of our goals at USA Canoe/Kayak is to expand our global influence and be a strong and trusted partner in the international paddlesports community. Our opportunity to partner with Nantahala Outdoor Center to host this event represents our increased involvement with key international organizations and aligns to our overall international relations efforts. We look forward to a great competition and thank Nantahala Outdoor Center for their support.”
Used by recreational paddlers on a daily basis, the 2013 Wave is scheduled to host over a dozen events and competitions during the 2014 season. Having a world-class river feature surrounded by an excellent event venue is rebuilding the Nantahala’s reputation as a premier whitewater destination for paddlers of all disciplines. Hosting the 2015 ICF Junior Wildwater Canoeing World Championships will show off the Nantahala River’s versatility as well as further establish Western North Carolina as a premier destination to the international paddling community.
Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) is the nation’s largest outdoor recreation company. Almost a million guests visit NOC annually to embark on a diverse collection of more than 120 different whitewater rafting and land-based itineraries, learn to kayak at NOC’s world-renowned Paddling School, travel to 12 foreign countries with NOC’s Adventure Travel program, test the latest outdoor gear and shop at its flagship retail stores or enjoy NOC’s resort amenities such as its four restaurants and multi-tiered lodging. A privately-held, employee-owned company, NOC is one of the largest employers in Western North Carolina and 22 Olympians and Olympic coaches have called NOC home. NOC has been recently recognized by The New York Times as the “Nation's Premiere Paddling School,” “The Best Place to Learn” by Outside, and as “One of the Best Outfitters on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure.
Headquartered in Oklahoma City, USA Canoe/Kayak is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Canoe Federation. It governs the Olympic disciplines of Flatwater Sprint, Whitewater Slalom, the Paralympic discipline of Paracanoe and sanctions Freestyle, Marathon, Outrigger, Wildwater, Stand Up Paddle Board, Kayak Polo, Dragon Boat and Canoe Sailing in the United States. For more information about USA Canoe/Kayak, please visit us on the web at www.usack.org, on Twitter at @usacanoekayak and Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/USACanoeKayak.